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Happy Monday morning.
The House has a “Committee Work Week” with no floor votes while the Senate is in recess until July 11.
President Joe Biden is in the midst of a high-profile trip to Europe, and that’s where we’re turning our attention to this morning.
Biden is participating in a three-day G7 meeting in Bavaria, Germany, that began Sunday. This will be followed by a trip to Madrid for the NATO summit.
Much of Biden’s focus this week, of course, will be the war in Ukraine. Specifically how to continue upping the pressure on Russia both militarily and economically while also helping Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s embattled government. Zelensky spoke to Biden and the other G7 leaders by video today, per the pool report.
According to a White House “Fact Sheet” released early Monday morning, the G7 leaders “will make an unprecedented, long-term security commitment to providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as it takes.” This will include “the timely provision of modern defense equipment and advanced weapons systems.”
AP is reporting that the United States is purchasing the same Norwegian system used to protect the White House and Capitol.
Yet even as the G7 meeting kicked off on Sunday, Russia was launching a massive missile strike at Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, a signal to Biden and other Western leaders that Vladimir Putin has no intention of backing off his continued brutal offensive against Ukraine. Biden condemned the Russian attacks as “more of their barbarism.”
And Russia is defaulting on foreign loans for the first time since 1918, a grim sign of how far the country’s relationship with the Western democracies and Japan has deteriorated. Despite the abysmal state of its economy following the imposition of draconian U.S.-led sanctions, Russia has the money to pay its bills – thanks to sky high oil prices brought about in part, ironically, by the war in Ukraine.
Russia, however, isn’t being allowed to make its debt payment thanks to the Western sanctions. Which may mean more in terms of global headlines than in real pain for Russia or more internal problems for Putin, although it is further proof of Russia’s growing pariah status.
The G7 leaders also announced Sunday they would end purchases of Russian gold, a major source of revenue for Putin’s government. And there was discussion of a plan, reportedly backed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to cap the price of Russian oil purchased by European countries. The goal is to cut down on the amount of revenue flowing to Russia from such sales, although it’s not entirely clear how this will work.
The White House announced that United States and other G7 nations will “aggressively target Russian defense supply chains” with more sanctions; use funds from new tariffs on Russian imports to help Ukraine; sanction Russian officials and military leaders involved in the Ukrainian campaign; and make additional economic commitments to help Zelensky’s government cover its budget.
As for the state of the conflict in Ukraine, despite enormous sacrifices by the Ukrainian military and tens of billions of dollars of U.S. and Western aid, it seems clear that Russia is slowly gaining the upper hand.
“Russian forces are arguably having their best spell since the invasion of Ukraine began four months ago.
“They have eliminated most Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region, consolidated control of a belt of territory in the south, improved their logistics and command structure and blunted the effectiveness of Ukrainian attack drones.
“Within the last week, the Russians have been rewarded for their intense – some would say merciless – bombardments of the remaining parts of the Luhansk region held by Ukrainian forces, which have finally given up Severodonetsk and lost territory south of Lysychansk.”
There are also some signs of stress in the Western alliance over the conflict. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly warned French President Emmanuel Macron that “any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability,” according to several media reports. French officials denied such an exchange had taken place, however.
Today’s sessions will include discussions with leaders from India, Indonesia and other nations over food prices and security, both of which have become global problems since the war in Ukraine began. Rising prices for food and fuel have led to protests across the globe. Just during the last week or two, there have been protests in Ecuador, Nepal, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other developing nations over the soaring cost of living. IMF officials have warned that “low-income countries” are more susceptible to price increases because their citizens pay a much higher portion of their incomes for basic staples.
→ One other note: The Biden administration has repackaged the “Build Back Better World” funding initiative as the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.” That initial effort fell apart due to lackluster international response.
Designed to be the U.S. response to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” which is an international infrastructure development plan designed to help spread China’s influence, Biden will announce “the U.S. aims to mobilize $200 billion over the next five years” for the PGII through grants, federal funding and private sector investments, the White House said. Overall, the Biden administration hopes to “mobilize $600 billion by 2027” combined from all the G7 nations. We’ll see if this does any better than the first round.
– John Bresnahan
Reminder about our event tomorrow: We’re excited for our conversation with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET. We’ll be talking to him about the 2024 election and the challenges facing small businesses coming out of the pandemic. Join us at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage in Concord, N.H., or on the livestream! RSVP Here.
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Doctors can practice high-risk situations risk-free in the metaverse
Body: In the metaverse, future surgeons will be able to practice advanced procedures hundreds of times before seeing real patients – helping them gain experience and master their skills.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
How high will defense spending go in 2023?
Defense spending will increase in FY 2023, likely by a pretty significant amount. And that’s not counting U.S. spending to aid Ukraine in its brutal war against the Russian invasion. The real questions are by how much, and when will it happen? It’s likely to take some time until we know that answer.
The House Armed Services Committee approved a defense authorization package of $840 billion for 2023, nearly $37 billion more than President Joe Biden requested. Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Elaine Luria (D-Va.) – two Frontliners who may face difficult races in November – offered an amendment to boost the topline number to that higher level. The panel approved the final NDAA package by a 57-1 vote, with only Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) voting no.
Golden said an increasingly dangerous world calls for a lot more money for the Pentagon and other defense programs. Yet roughly $6 billion of that additional funding is for “military construction inflation costs” and bigger fuel bills:
“We need only look to world events in Ukraine, read reports regarding China’s plans and actions in the South China Sea, or simply read the latest headlines about Iranian nuclear ambitions and North Korean missile tests, as well as ongoing terrorist threats, in order to see why this additional funding is necessary to meet the security challenges of our time.”
The full House is expected to take the NDAA up in mid-July, Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told us.
Yet even that HASC number is far short of the $857 billion approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee in its version of the 2023 NDAA.
“The issue for everyone at the moment is how do you factor inflation in, both looking back to last year’s budget and looking forward,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said in an interview.
Reed also said the panel must factor in a “dramatically more serious threat environment,” from Ukraine to Taiwan to North Korea to Iran.
There’s no timetable for marking up the NDAA on the Senate floor, and Reed is already concerned that it will get pushed deep into an expected lame-duck session. Last year’s NDAA didn’t get approved by the Senate until mid-December, a very late finish for one of the few remaining areas of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.
And what about the actual funding for the Pentagon and other defense programs? When will that get through the appropriations process?
The House Appropriations Committee has already approved a Democratic-drafted bill that was strongly opposed by Republicans. Even if that bill makes it through the House – which is questionable – it’s not going anywhere in the Senate. Senate Republicans will want a lot more defense money than what’s been floated so far.
GOP leaders also aren’t going to do any serious negotiating on appropriations bills as long as Senate Democrats are still talking about doing a reconciliation package. This is a similar scenario to what happened last year with the Build Back Better Act. The FY2022 omnibus package didn’t come together until after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) put a stake in BBB in mid-December.
“We’ve got to figure out an inflation number, especially on defense. This is from my perspective, and the [Republican] caucus,” Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, told reporters recently.
“Then because of the world situation, we’ll look for a hefty increase in defense, over and above inflation. So that won’t happen, I think, until after the election. If it happens.
“It is an election year. A lot of people think the House will flip [to Republican control] and the Senate could flip. Both of them have to be won on the battlefield, we all know that.
“My assessment, I’m trying to be honest with the press. One, it’s June. The chances of us having an agreement on approps, like putting the bills together, are slim. Could it happen? Yes, I’d like for it to happen. But I think it’s going to take a while.”
We’d go with Shelby’s read here, just fyi.
– John Bresnahan
Who we’re watching
→ President Joe Biden: The president left a slate of domestic woes behind – at least temporarily – as he huddles with world leaders during two high-profile meetings in Europe this week. First up, Biden is in Bavaria, Germany, for the annual G7 summit. Following the two-day G7 gathering, Biden travels to Madrid for the NATO summit. At the top the agenda for both meetings – a forceful and united defense of Ukraine as Russia intensifies its attacks on the country. The two gatherings offer a chance for Biden to show his leadership on the world stage and may even offer a small bump to his dismal approval ratings back home, which are stuck around 40 percent.
→ Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.): Miller’s member-on-member primary vs. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) on Tuesday is now getting national headlines. This is due to the latest controversy surrounding Miller, a hardline first-term GOP lawmaker. Miller previously said Adolf Hitler “was right” about winning over young people, a remark for which she later apologized. On Saturday night, Miller thanked former President Donald Trump for the “historic victory for white life” when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week. Miller aides later said she meant “right to life” and misspoke with Trump standing behind her. Davis said Miller “is not fit for public office.”
– Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
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What we’re watching
→ Monday: The House Oversight Committee has a hearing on the national drug control strategy and the response to the overdose crisis with Rahul Gupta, the White House’s director of drug control policy.
→ Tuesday: The House Financial Services Committee has a hearing on housing.
→ Wednesday: House Appropriations has a markup on the state foreign ops budget.
→ Thursday: House Approps has a markup of the THUD bill.
→New: Rep. Val Demings’ (D-Fla.) campaign is seizing on the issue of abortion rights to attack Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in a new digital ad and website.
In the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Demings attempts to paint Rubio as a “radical” who is “bad for women.” The digital ad highlights Rubio’s support for the reversal of Roe, co-sponsorship of a bill criminalizing doctors who perform abortions and support for a Florida measure known as the ‘Scarlet Letter Law.’
The Demings’ campaign post-Roe push is a useful way to look at Democratic messaging following last week’s bombshell Supreme Court decision. Democrats running in critical Senate races, such as Florida, see aborton rights as a galvanizing issue that can motivate the base and push moderate women away from Republicans.
→ Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) is running a digital bio spot in D.C. as part of his campaign to be the next top Republican of the Ways and Means Committee.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
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All times eastern
4:00 a.m.: President Joe Biden participates in a G7 Summit Session on Ukraine in the Bavarian Alps.
6:30 a.m.: Biden participates in a working lunch on climate, energy and health.
8 a.m.: Biden participates in a family photo with G7 leaders.
9:30 a.m.: Biden participates in a plenary on food security and gender equality.
Week ahead: Tuesday: Biden will wrap up the G7 summit before traveling to Madrid for the NATO summit. He will meet with King Felipe VI of Spain. Wednesday: Biden will participate in the NATO summit. Thursday: Biden will travel back to Washington.
→ “Abortion Pills Take the Spotlight as States Impose Abortion Bans,” by Pam Belluck
→ “Proud Boys Ignored Orders Given at Pre-Jan. 6 Meeting,” by Alan Feuer
→ “MAGA Voters Send a $50 Million G.O.P. Plan Off the Rails in Illinois,” by Reid Epstein in Lincoln, Ill.
→ “California looks to enshrine abortion rights in state constitution,” by Shawn Hubler in Sacramento
→ “GOP politicians defend post-Roe bans,” by Maxine Joselow, Amy B Wang and Praveena Somasundaram
→ “More than 80 elected prosecutors say they won’t enforce bans,” by Praveena Somasundaram
→ “Democrats seize on abortion ruling in midterms as Republicans tread carefully,” by Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz
→ “Powell’s Path to 2% Inflation Needs Luck or, Failing That, Pain,” by Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler
→ “Abortion Opponents Consider How Far to Press After End of Roe v. Wade,” by Laura Kusisto
→ “U.S. Held Secret Meeting With Israeli, Arab Military Chiefs to Counter Iran Air Threat,” by Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud
→ “More than 1 million voters switch to GOP in warning for Dems,” by Steve Peoples and Aaron Kessler
→ “US basketball star Griner due in Russian court,” by Jim Heintz
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The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real
Body: Meta is helping build the metaverse so aviation mechanics will be able to practice servicing different jet engines – preparing them for any complex job.
The result: A more skilled workforce.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images
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